Copyright © 2002, by John Lankford, Fort Smith, Arkansas

      When God speaks His mind on a topic we should hear (1 Samuel 3:9). We should also submit and not rebel (Hebrews 3:15). Neither should we add to or take from His words ( Deuteronomy 4:2; Acts 15:24ff, Revelation 22:18).

      When God speaks His mind, He often is very precise or specific about something (Hebrews 8:5, for example). One can build a case for or against something based on the preciseness of God's word on a topic. (For examples, see Hebrews 7:14; Galatians 3:16ff.)

      Has God spoken as to what the gospel really is? Is it "going to church"? Is it baptism? Is it singing? What about taking communion every Sunday? No, the gospel is a triad of facts with eternal significance. It is the death of Christ for our sins ... His burial ... His resurrection on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). It is what God did for us, not what we do or submit to. To make the gospel personal, one must give an appropriate response directed by the precise Words of God, but the "response" itself is not the gospel.

      What was Jesus' real objective in coming to earth? Was it to teach us how to worship correctly? Was it to setup the best religious organization possible? Was it to teach us to "do good" to all? Has God spoken His mind on this topic? Yes. Jesus came to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15). To make Jesus into a zealot for social reform is to veer away from the clear Word of God as per His mission.

      Why was Jesus raised from the grave? It clearly declared He was indeed God's Son (Romans 1:4). But God is even more specific. He was raised for our justification (Romans 6:25). The truth of the cross depends on the fact of the resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:17ff). The focus is on justification of sinners and not on miraculous "show." To neglect to preach the resurrection is to rip significant evidence from establishing the truth of the gospel, because it validates the gospel! Early evangelists continually put the resurrection before the hearers (Book of Acts). When is the last time you have heard the resurrection examined and solidified from a class or pulpit? Is it not time that the resurrection be treated as God has specified instead of just a "great miracle" tacked-on after the cross?

      God has spoken His mind on the content of the gospel and the mission of Jesus. Are we going to abide in His specifics or change or subtract from them? Most people (especially those in college) will not be truly converted to the cross without evidence of its truth. Restoring the actual preaching of the gospel could have a great impact on our community.

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